Why one Bronx family set its sights on Stamford

Casey Hallen and daughter Sydney at Hogpen Hill Farm in Litchfield County; Hallen and her family relocated to Stamford in 2020. 

Casey Hallen and daughter Sydney at Hogpen Hill Farm in Litchfield County; Hallen and her family relocated to Stamford in 2020. 

Contributed by Casey Hallen

Casey Hallen and her family were living in the Riverdale section of the Bronx when COVID-19 landed in the state. With one daughter about to turn 3 years old at the time and plans to expand the family, Hallen said the pandemic made it the perfect time to make a move. 

“We didn't feel safe at the time taking her to playgrounds or anything, and that was sort of like the main outdoor thing to do where we lived,” she said. “So it made sense to come to Connecticut where we had the extra help from my parents while we were working at home, but also we could just go out to their backyard and walk around and feel a little bit safer.”

Moving in with her family in Stamford, Hallen, who is a teacher in Westchester, N.Y., as well as a cottage-industry baker, said their ensuing house hunt grew challenging not just because of a competitive market, but also because of a new deadline: they were expecting their second child. 

“We saw some things that we liked … and there would already be 10 offers on the house,” she said. “It was just like as soon as [a home] was being put on [the market, it] was just being gobbled up…And we had this timeline of wanting to move out of my parents’ before our baby was born, and also just trying to find something within our price range.”

Eventually, Hallen said they closed on their Stamford home in December 2020 and moved in mid-February 2021, just in time for their second daughter’s birth in March. While they had time to transition to life in Connecticut prior to their home purchase, Hallen said owning their own home has brought some additional things to get used to. 

“This is our first home — we went from renters to homeowners,” she said. “It’s a much larger space for us than [our] smaller two-bedroom apartment in Riverdale. We love having the space and we love that it's ours — just going from my parents for basically a year to having our own space has been wonderful.”

Her parents’ house did have its benefits, according to Hallen, such as “an amazing kitchen” in which she could hone her baking skills, as well as space to teach over Zoom and an extra set of hands to help with her young daughters. 

With an equally nice kitchen in her new home and a space for her family to call their own, Hallen said there is “no question” about whether or not it was a good decision to relocate to Connecticut. 

“It was just the right time for us and with our growing family,” she said.